If I were a CIO and I had a really strong 21C, I would be making sure they are engaged and challenged to ensure they don't make a surprise exit leaving a hole in the team that is difficult to replace
For Oliver Hawkley, having a strong second in command (21C) is an indication of the quality of leadership of the CIO.
“When you look at how successful a CIO or a CTO has been, it is not just about what the individual has achieved. It is what the team has achieved and what they have got,” says Hawkley of executive recruiters Kerridge & Partners.
“When CIOs have developed the team to such a level that when they move to their next role they can promote from within, that indicates a very successful leader.”
“In the New Zealand market, from my experience, there is hidden leadership talent that is ready to add real value to the wider executive landscape,” says Hawkley.
“These are the individuals sitting in 2IC positions who have learnt their craft under established CIOs and CEOs.
“If I were a CIO and I had a really strong 21C, I would be making sure they are engaged and challenged to ensure they don't make a surprise exit leaving a hole in the team that is difficult to replace.
“It is sage advice to have open conversations early about career development and career planning together.”
“Ensure that a valued 2IC knows what the future holds and the value that they are adding to the business, and above all they know what they are required to deliver.
“Perhaps even consider time outside of the core technology team for the 2IC, this will enable to the 2IC to gather commercial experience and come back into the team with a wider skill base,” he says. “Then when the time is right they are better equipped to step up into an executive CIO/CTO position.
“It is much better for the stability of the organisation and the stability of the executive team, and the board’s confidence in the whole technology sphere, if you have a robust and natural succession plan for the CIO/CTO.”
It is much better for the stability of the organisation and the stability of the executive team, and the board’s confidence in the whole technology sphere, if you have a robust and natural succession plan for the CIO/CTO
Next in line
He also recommends CIOs to engage in quarterly 'skip level meetings', with the direct reports of the 21C.
This will enable the CIO to provide the 2IC with more insightful leadership feedback, says Hawkley.
"It will help the 2IC grow as a leader and realise where they need to improve as well as value the mentorship of an experienced CIO.”
His message for CIOs? “Identify a successor or successors early.”
“Communicate proactively what you want to achieve out of a development programme. Create a broader succession process.”
He says CIOs should also create a clear leadership development programme within their own team.
So when the time comes, and the CIO wants to take on another role in the organisation or externally, “the board and the rest of the executive sees low risk with you leaving,” he states.
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